Flying the flag for the armed forces
The region's largest council is showing its support for the armed forces this week.
Our Chairman, Cllr Katie Corrigan, also hosted a reception for representatives from the armed forces and council employees who serve in the reserve forces.
We signed an Armed Forces Covenant in 2012 stating our commitment to ensuring that serving and former members of the armed forces and their families are treated fairly and are not disadvantaged as a result of their service.
Last year, we were one of only 50 employers, including ten local authorities, in the UK to receive a Gold Award through the Ministry of Defence's Employer Recognition Scheme. The award recognises employers who demonstrate positive attitudes and policies towards serving and ex-members of the Armed Forces.
What we have done to provide support
Our work has included the recent introduction of a policy which offers up to 10 days of paid leave for employees who are also Uniformed Cadet Force Adult Volunteers to attend their annual training. A similar policy, for staff who are reservists, has been in place for some time and has been used as an example of best practice by other local authorities and businesses in the region.
We also run a guaranteed interview scheme for veterans, enabling those who meet the essential criteria for a post to overcome any barriers to recruitment opportunities, and, in partnership with other local authorities in the region, we offer an Armed Forces Outreach Service, which provides help and support to all forces' personnel, reservists, veterans and their families.
Cllr Lucy Hovvels MBE, our armed forces champion, said: "Armed Forces Day is a chance for us to demonstrate our commitment to all those from County Durham who serve and have served in the armed forces as well as their families.
"We are very proud to fly the armed forces flag from County Hall."